Christopher Eccleston “very hopeful” of Our Friends in the North sequel

The former Doctor Who actor said revisiting the 1996 drama, which also starred Daniel Craig, Mark Strong and Gina McKee, is a career ambition

Almost twenty years after it captivated millions of viewers, Christopher Eccleston has revealed plans for a sequel to Our Friends in the North, in which he appeared alongside Daniel Craig, Mark Strong and Gina McKee.


“I’m very hopeful,” the former Doctor Who said on Radio 5 Live yesterday. “I know that [writer] Peter Flannery has some plans to revisit Our Friends in the North either by going earlier to the story of Peter Vaughan’s character Felix, or a little later, and it’s one of my great hopes for my career that we can do something about that because Peter’s vision was extraordinary.”

Acclaimed by critics and viewers alike, the 1996 series chronicled the lives of four friends in Newcastle upon Tyne over a 31-year period, from 1964 to 1995. Eccleston played political idealist Dominic ‘Nicky’ Hutchinson, while Daniel Craig played his mate George ‘Geordie’ Peacock.

Despite often sporting dodgy wigs and – in the men’s case – even dodgier facial hair, the BBC2 drama helped launch the careers of Eccleston, Strong, McKee and especially James Bond star Daniel Craig. Eccleston did not say whether his former co-stars were also interested in reuniting for a spin-off.

Eccleston, who is currently appearing in ITV thriller Safe House, also suggested that Britain needed a state-of-the-nation drama akin to Our Friends in the North because it’s lagging behind American television.

“When I first started going to Los Angeles 20 years ago, all they could talk to me about was British television, and if you sit down with British television executives now, all they can talk about is American television,” he said, adding: “Perhaps we need to start looking at what’s going on in our country – the way the Americans are… It’s time now for a state-of-the-nation piece, I think.”

In an interview in last week’s edition of Radio Times magazine, the 51 year-old actor talked about his working-class roots and brief incarnation as the ninth Doctor – revealing why his Time Lord was northern.

“I wanted to move him away from RP [received pronunciation] for the first time because we shouldn’t make a correlation between intellect and accent although that still needs addressing,” he explained.

Safe House continues on Monday on ITV at 9pm

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